The Therapy Sessions

On Rehab, Orgasmatrons & Ottomans

Returning to the couch to fill in the blanks.

TP: Really good to see you again, Little. I don’t mind telling you, I was worried.

LM: Didn’t think I’d bounce back, doc?

TP: Well, you know, a nervous breakdown’s pretty serious stuff. Not everyone snaps out of it.

LM: Nah, I’m good now, doc. That little stint in rehab did the trick.

TP: What pushed you over the edge? It seemed like you were doing so good, adjusting especially well, I thought, to Bugsy’s arrival last year.

LM: Yeh, it wasn’t the kid’s fault, annoying little dweeb that he is. I lay a lot of this at mom and dad’s feet, mainly dad’s.

TP: How so? I thought you and your dad were tight.

LM: Oh, we are. It’s just that things at the house got turned inside out this year. A LOT of projects—some planned, some not, all disruptive to my previously well-ordered lifestyle.

TP: That’s it? Some house projects threw you over the edge?

LM: Listen, doc, you’ve heard about that one final stupid straw that breaks the equally stupid camel’s back? There’s a limit, you know?

TP: True, I get that.

LM: Dad screwed up. He should have listened to mom. See, she wanted to downsize. You know, move into a place where somebody else manicures the forest and deals with the problems. But nooo! Old dad wouldn’t have it.

TP: So…

LM: So they make a deal. Mom says, “If we’re staying here a little longer, I want to redecorate.” Dad figures he can live with that, so he agrees. Bad move!

TP: Didn’t they also get a little place at the beach last year?

LM: Right. Whole other issue! But as they say in jolly old England, that’s small beer.

TP: But now your dad’s decorating two places?

LM: Bingo. Which would have been bad enough, but then the dripping started.

TP: Dripping?

LM: As in…Dad’s working in his office one day looks up at the ceiling (presumably pondering what a dunce he is for agreeing to mom’s deal) when he notices a watermark. Long story short #1…the shower in the bathroom above his office (which mom has always hated—referring to as either “the Hugh Hefner bathroom” because the previous owner apparently wanted to replicate a Playboy Mansion black-and-gold motif he lusted after, or “The Orgasmatron” because it was loaded with more steam and sauna-like bells and whistles than a Gentlemen’s Club spa)—well, it needed to be replaced. BIG project! So for the next couple months, some guy shows up at the house every day to demolish the “Orgasmatron” and generally wreak havoc on the way to creating a new normal people shower.

TP: Sounds like a drag, Little Man, but I can’t believe it disturbed your life all that much.

LM: No, you’re right. The over-the-edge disturbance was yet to come. And this is where dad really had to be feeling like donning the old dunce cap for not listening to mom about downsizing. You see, one of mom’s big selling points to dad on that score was “we gotta get out before we need to re-roof.”

TP: Didn’t make it, eh?

LM: Right. Just about the time the “Orgasmatron” was being dismantled, the cleaning ladies point out to dad that they notice some leaking out over the sun porch. Dad, ever the optimist (NOT!), figures it just needs a little sealant along the overhead glass panels. He wished! So, long story short #2…the cedar shake roof has deteriorated and old dad’s now in the crosshairs of re-roofing the entire house. REALLY BIG project!

TP: Too bad but, Little Man, I still don’t see how this affected your state of mind so badly.

LM: Ahh, that’s where the 25 Mexicans come in.

TP: Twenty-five Mexicans?

LM: At least! They were crawling all over the house for the next three weeks—ripping off old shingles, hammering in a new sub-roof then the new shingles. It was unnerving, inescapable—I’m telling you, doc, Gulliver had it better with those pesky Lilliputians.

TP: I get the picture.

LM: Good for you, but that’s not the whole picture. It wasn’t just what was happening outside. Thanks to all the hammer-wielding Mexicans, the ceilings inside the house were popping nails like crazy; ceiling plaster bits raining down like explosive fallout.

Then there were the rain days. Good news, no Mexicans. Bad news, the house was draped in a huge blue tarp. I thought I was in some weird science fiction film, like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, afraid I was gonna be sucked up into a space ship any minute.

TP: So you lost it.

LM: By the end of the second week, I was totally freaked…checked myself into Paws House for some much needed R&R.

TP: And your dad?

LM: Numb-nuts? He’s ok. Well on his way to being broke, since the whole redecorating gig was already on a downhill set of tracks when all these other surprises happened. Did I mention the water heater disaster? Aw, never mind.

But, hey…he didn’t move! Knucklehead!

TP: Hmm. OK, enough about all that! Tell me what else is happening, now that you’re back on solid footing.

LM: Well, I got my own apartment.

TP: No kidding?

LM: Yeh, mom and dad set me up in the basement as part of the redec. It’s a whole en suite deal…bedroom (my unique “suitcase” bed, of course) with connecting gentlemen’s lounge and a little kitchenette for my midnight snacks. It’s sweet.

TP: Bugsy doesn’t crash your pad?

LM: Not at night! The little suck-up spends the night with mom and dad. But first thing in the morning, as soon as dad opens the basement door, here he comes bounding down. Sometimes during the day, we’ll hang down there together. Got sort of a bunk bed arrangement for that. But mostly we’re upstairs during the day.

TP: Sounds like you two are getting along pretty well.

LM: Yeh, it’s ok. Don’t get me wrong. The kid’s still a royal pain—too much of a close talker for my taste. Wants to be wherever I am. Loves to wrestle. Climbs all over me like I’m an ottoman or something. Funny aside about that, by the way…

TP: About what? Wrestling?

LM: No, ottomans.

One day, some moving guys were delivering a new piece of furniture (the redec, again) and, you know me, doc, once I’m in my special comfort zone, I don’t move for anybody. Anyhow, this big burly guy comes in carrying a chair or something and starts to walk right past me, oblivious that I’m even there. Just then, I do a little stretch-and-roll. Doc, I thought the guy was gonna mess himself. “Damn,” he screamed, “I thought that was an ottoman.”

TP: (Chuckles.) You know, Little, in the old days, you’d have taken offense to such a, well how can I say it, less-than-flattering comparison. I’d say your rehab has worked wonders.

LM: Maybe. I just got a kick out of watching this big oaf jump like a girl.

TP: Last thing, real quick, how about Christmas? What’s the plan?

LM: Doc, I wish I could say it’ll just be the usual suspects. You know, the kid in the plaid pajamas, his sister, the not-so-secret Secret Service man, Granny, and like that.

TP: New member of the family joining you this year?

LM: Uh-huh. Ollie, the dopey mutt from Brooklyn.

TP: Nice kid?

LM: C’mon, doc. He’s a dog. Always Mr. Happy. Always wants to play. Always gets super excited to see the Bugster and me. AND, fortunately for him, always stays on the leach so we don’t rip him a new one.

TP: Don’t suppose he gets invited to the apartment.

LM: You don’t suppose right, doc.

TP: Merry Christmas, Little. Next year?

LM: You got it, doc.